Leon Dabo (American 1864-1960)
Leon Dabo (American 1864-1960)
Painter, muralist and lithographer, a distinguished artist known to museums, curators and collectors worldwide. An American artist born in France, Dabos active career in art extended over a period of 80 years. He painted both in New York and France between the two world wars. He studied with some of the most influential painters of his day, John La Farge, Puvis de Chavannes, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Dabos first teacher in New York City was John La Farge [1835-1910] where he followed La Farges artistic philosophy, that art should embody "more than a mere representation of external appearances," that views of nature should transcend the physical and appeal to ones emotion. La Farge is also credited with Dabos introduction to flower painting.
In his early years in Paris, Dabo was a protégé of the renowned painter and muralist Puvis de Chavannes [1824-1898] many of his early landscapes owe much to his mentor in muted tonality, and evoking a dreamy quiet mood. In 1888 Dabo settled in London where he associated with such artistic personalities as James McNeill Whistler, Walter Sickert, George Bernard Shaw, Alvin Langdon Coburn, among others. But it was James McNeill Whistler [1834-1903] who had a profound and lasting influence on Dabos art. He closely followed Whistlers theory of "Art for Arts sake," showing the close relationship between the soft, tonal quality of color with the careful placement of composition into decorative and harmonious elements.
Dabo was involved with and participated in two of the major events in the American Art scene; the Independents of 1910, and the Armory Show of 1913. His travels abroad between 1917-1920 as a member of the American financial Mission to the Allies, allowed him to meet other important artists of the day, and to study their work.
Dabo was commissioned by the Armys Fourth Division under Major General Mark L. Hersey to execute five paintings depicting landscapes of historic sites during the first World War. Dabo continued to paint and exhibit in this country and Europe until his death in 1960, where he strove to realize new color sensations, mastering his use of light, texture and atmosphere.
His works are owned by over forty museums in this country and abroad, among them:
The National Museum of American Art Washington D.C. Evening on the Hudson
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloud, New York Harbor from the Jersey Shore, Marine
Musee DOrsay, Paris, France Moore Park
The Musee de Lourve, Paris, France, Citadel
During his life he was awarded the Cross of Knight of the French Legion of Honor for his contribution to art. He was a member of the National Academy of Design New York; Societe National des Beaux Arts, Paris; Societe des Amis des Arts, Versailles; Allied Artists Association, London; President of The Pastellists, New York; The New York Historical Society; Four Arts Society, New York; University Club, Paris; Association of Italian Artists, Florence, Italy; and a Life Member of the National Arts Club, New York.
Dr Kevin Avery, associate curator in the department of American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wrote in a museum catalogue in 1999:
"No landscape painter associated with Tonalism aligned himself so unmistakeably and consistently with Whistler than did Leon Dabo."
The New York Times in its review of his Floral Etudes, drawings, and Pastels at M. Knoedler Company, New York City in 1933, wrote:
"A distinct contribution to be associated with the flower harmonies of Odilon Redon and of Fantin-Latour."
Source: Stillwell House Antiques and Fine Art